The US/Canada and Asian version is one of the most common varieties of sweet or dessert pudding served in these countries. It is usually eaten as a snack or dessert. It is also used as a filling for chocolate pie.
Historically, it is a variation on chocolate custard, with starch used as thickener rather than eggs. Early versions of the dish using both egg and flour can be found in the 1918 edition of Fannie Farmer's Boston Cooking School Cook Book and in the 1903 edition of Mary Harris Frazer's Kentucky Receipt Book.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, chocolate pudding was thought of as an appropriate food for invalids or children as well as a dessert. It was not considered a health food in the modern sense of the term, but as a wholesome, high-calorie food for those with poor appetites due to ill-health. General Foods (Jell-O) introduced chocolate pudding mix in 1934 as "Walter Baker's Dessert". It was renamed "Jell-O Chocolate Pudding" in 1936.
Modern chocolate pudding is usually made with milk and sugar, flavored with chocolate and vanilla and thickened with a starch such as flour or cornstarch. Occasionally, eggs are still used when making chocolate pudding. Usually it is cooked together on the stovetop, but other methods exist including steaming, baking (sometimes in a bain-marie) or freezing (using gelatin as a thickener). Sometimes white chocolate pudding is made. Chocolate pudding is commonly purchased ready-made in stores, popular brands include Jell-O Pudding by the Kraft Foods Corporation and Snack Pack (pudding) by Hunt's.
Many people make their own chocolate puddings at home, but commercially produced frozen or refrigerated versions are commonly available in supermarkets. In Australia and New Zealand, Sara Lee or Betty Crocker are popular brands of commercial chocolate puddings.